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Tom Brady, Buccaneers Clinch 2021 NFC South Title with Win vs. Panthers

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 27, 2021

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have clinched the NFC South title with Sunday's 32-6 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Buccaneers

NFC South Champs ‼️ <a href="https://t.co/dauIAfghmS">pic.twitter.com/dauIAfghmS</a>

Even after last week's stumble against the New Orleans Saints, the Buccaneers remain well ahead of the competition in the division after improving to 11-4 with the Week 16 victory.

Tampa Bay is looking to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots. Tom Brady was the quarterback for those teams as well, winning his second and third of his seven career championships.

Even at 44 years old, Brady has not slowed down with 4,580 passing yards and 37 touchdowns in 15 games this year, making him a top candidate to win his fourth career MVP award.

Depth at the skill positions has been on display throughout the past few weeks, with Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and Ronald Jones II picking up the slack while Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and Mike Evans deal with injuries.

This next-man-up mentality has given the Bucs one of the best balanced attacks in the NFL.

The defense hasn't been quite as dominant in 2021, as injuries have also devastated the unit. Lavonte David, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Sean Murphy-Bunting are among the key players who have missed time this season.

Last year's playoffs showed the defense can have a huge impact when healthy, however, and most of the roster should be back on the field by the postseason.

It makes Tampa Bay a favorite to once again lift the Lombardi Trophy in February.

The next step will be to create an easier path in the playoffs by clinching the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

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